Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, December 7
On December 10, 2018, Asha Sharma (66), a retired principal of a DSSD Girls Senior Secondary School, fell from the Activa scooter that her husband was driving and fractured the humerus (the long bone in the upper arm) shaft of her right arm. Taken to a private hospital for treatment and advised surgery, she was taken into the OT. That was the last time anyone saw her talking.
A report constituted by the medical board at the Civil Hospital has stated that anaesthesia complication during a surgical procedure at a local hospital is the probable cause of hypoxic brain injury caused to the patient, Asha Sharma.
The retired principal, a mother of two children, has been in coma since December 10 last year. Lying on a bed the entire day at her home in Jalandhar, Sharma, who has been bedridden since the surgery, is being tended to by her husband Tilak Raj Sharma (69), a retired banker and her daughter. Her son Sumit Sharma, based in Canada, also frequently visits her. His visits are also now aimed at following up with departments to take up her case and provide justice. The family has spent over Rs 9 lakh on her treatment.
A medical board was constituted to conduct a probe regarding alleged medical negligence in her treatment, after the complaint of her husband, which finalised its probe report on May 31 this year.
While the six-member board, formed under the Civil Surgeon office carried out an investigation of the alleged medical negligence, it said: “The board is of the opinion that the seizures and cardiac arrest were probably due to intravascular absorption of drugs used for brachial plexus block, which might have led to hypoxic brain damage. In it’s opinion, there is no record to suggest that patient’s relatives were informed of her condition.”
The board finally records: “The board is of the opinion that it took a longer time to take neurological opinion and shifting her to a neurological centre. Humerus fracture surgery is a major surgery.”
The board submitted the report to patient’s kin and the Director, Health, on June 20 this year.
The probe report notes earlier: “Keeping in view the medical record of the patient and the statement of the doctors, the board stated that the seizures following the local anaesthetic drug was probably due to intravascular absorption of the local anaesthetic drug which is a known complication. The brain hypoxia can be due to the episode of the cardiac arrest and seizures following the local anaesthesia which was managed accordingly as per record.”
Not my fault, says doc
Dr Jashneev Kapoor, MS, Ortho, and proprietor of the hospital, where Sharma was admitted said: “What happened to the patient is a known case of anaesthesia complication. I had not operated upon her. She had a complication during anaesthesia only. The probe also says this was a known case of anaesthesia complication. The case is already in the consumer court. There was no negligence on our part. Something did happen but it was unforeseen and not a result of my action. I have also not been paid money for the treatment.” Dr Kapoor said as far as compensating the patient was concerned, he could await the direction of the forum on the matter.
Patient’s kin seek justice
While the victim’s family has also written to the PMO, the state Health Secretary, Punjab Medical Council, earlier this year, a case was also filed with the consumer forum which is up for the next hearing on Monday. The patient’s husband said: “While going to the OT, my wife had severe pain on her arm but was much in her senses. She was offered a wheelchair but she preferred to walk. Our only concern is that the government look into how following the surgery/treatment of a humerus fracture, my wife has been left with hypoxic brain injury. Our family is in mental agony and financial loss which we have been facing for the past one year. We want to see her back as she was before.”
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